To speak the truth is a painful thing…


To be forced to tell lies is much worse, said Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde.

I can’t play music for beans. I have been hacking away at instruments since I was ten, with little avail. I do love music. I try to play. I wish I could play. I am in awe of real musicians. But I am not a musician myself, despite my best efforts. I have to admit it.

Well, the martial arts are like that, too. The fan club is huge. The amount of actual participation in the association is considerably more limited.

Over the decades, I have met a very small percentage of real martial artists within the martial arts community. (Come to think of it, I have probably met more true martial artists outside the martial arts community than within.) Even “famous” figures are not necessarily within this small percentage of genuine martial artists; there is a reason for this, and it is neurological. It depends on how you are wired. You can tell a musician from someone who is not. A real musician can identify a peer in seconds. I can identify a real martial artist the second he walks into a room.

It’s funny. About six or seven years ago, my friend Zak (a martial artist) and I were waiting in line for hamburgers at a fast-food place (Goody’s on Katehaki St. in Athens, Greece). Suddenly, we both turned around at the same time, quick as snakes, like it was rehearsed. There was a Japanese man walking into the place. He stopped stone cold and looked at us. Spontaneously, we all bowed to each other, very low, keeping our eyes on each other at all times. It was a sudden thing, not a conscious decision – it just happened, like all three of us were marionettes dancing to a tune. Then the Japanese man turned around and walked out of the restaurant, which was the right thing to do.

I used to think there was something “Highlanderish” about this, but recent research shows it’s purely physiological. Scientists have managed to prove that all living organisms emit light. This light is called UPE, or “ultra-weak photon emissions” (”ultra-weak” because they can’t be seen with the naked eye). Japanese scientists have observed it coming from the forehead, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet of human beings. Scientists in Germany also believe that the light from the forehead and from the hands pulses, and they’ve observed a change in this pulse in people who are ill.

In addition, each living brain has its own RF signature. So our neurons are all broadcasting electro magnetically, each of us within the Faraday cage of our skull and skins, as we walk down the street. Since a martial artist has a particular signature due to the development of specific Brodmann areas in his brain, it’s not improbable to hypothesize that similar signatures can detect and recognize each other.

Think this is far-fetched? Try this: Israeli researchers have discovered a method to remotely sense the physiological and emotional state of human beings using tiny radio antennas already in our skin. The researchers investigated the internal layers of the skin using a new imaging technique called “Optical Coherent Tomography.” The images produced by this technique revealed that sweat ducts, which are the tubes that lead the sweat from the sweat gland to the surface of the skin, are shaped like tiny coils. Similar helical structures have been widely used as antennas in wireless communication systems. This made the investigators consider the possibility that sweat ducts could behave like tiny helical antennas as well.

These scientists, from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, believe their discovery could be used to help remotely monitor medical patients, evaluate athletic performance, diagnose disease and remotely sense the level of excitation in a person – which could have significant implications in the biomedical engineering, anti-terror and security technology fields.

So your brain-use signature is like a fingerprint, each of us unique, and you are constantly broadcasting that signature, whether you like it or not. Accordingly, a true martial artist can recognize another in seconds.

Being able to understand martial arts, or not, is dependent on the development of specific Brodmann areas in the brain. A Brodmann area is a region of the cortex defined based on its cytoarchitecture. Korbinian Brodmann published his maps of cortical areas in humans, monkeys, and other species in 1909, along with many other findings and observations regarding general cell types and laminar organization of the mammalian cortex.

Becoming a martial artist is something rare, and seriously, I myself question its worth in this day and age. A martial artist is very much a genetic throwback, something I was not even aware of myself until reading recent research on combat veterans. Today particular Brodmann centers are being studied in an effort to fight post traumatic stress disorder. True martial artists, those in whom specific Brodmann centers are hyperdeveloped either through neuroplasticity or genetics, don’t get PTSD – for them everything is binary anyway. They are either in combat, or they are not, 1/0. If they are not in combat, there is no stress. Bing! No PTSD. If they are in combat, they are there 100%. To quote Yoda, there is no try.

Perhaps it’s a sociological thing more than anything else, something that comes and goes with historic periods and their respective emphasis on human dignity, or more realistically with the need for citizens who can physically deal with confrontation. Sociological imperatives can generate the development of martial arts – the 19th century was full of them. In fact, martial arts as we know them today are a 19th century construct. But true martial artists are binary creatures and don’t compromise very well; the very primitive areas of the brain are hyper-developed in martial artists, and most decisions made there are of a 1/0 nature. Being binary creatures, institutional roles are of necessity strengthened in a society that has many martial artists. This is often against the interests and wishes of those special interest groups that run societies in the first place, who desire compromise so that they may maintain control. In fact, special interest groups rely exclusively on compromise in order to rule whole nations.

A true martial artist has difficulty compromising. He doesn’t make excuses, for himself or for others. He holds the same standards in place for himself as for others. He is absolute, 100%. He does not yield to self-interest. If you hear justification in his reasoning, or comments such as “So?” or “It didn’t work out” or “Give your word today, break it tomorrow”, then you are not talking with a martial artist. If you hear comments such as these, then you are speaking with a member of the fan club.

Albert Einstein said that only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. The martial arts are in accord with this statement. True mastery means that every cell in your body works in conjunction and consensus with your conscious directives, with your every action and motion. If you are not absolute, how can this be? If your emotions, integrity, and spirit waiver depending on circumstance, how can you ever be 100%? How can you go from 1 to 0 and back again, without bringing a baggage train along when you return?


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